Speaking at a Nashville Health Care Council Event, Tavenner – who previously spent 25 years working for HCA – said there were “ups and downs” during the law’s first year, but she noted several of its accomplishments.
“First of all, the sky did not fall and the government did not take over health care. So those are the first two things that we’d say,” Tavenner said. “This certainly came as a surprise to many Americans, given the heated rhetoric that has accompanied health care reform.”
Among the milestones in the Act’s first year is the distribution of more than 3.8 billion $250 rebate checks to Americans who fall in the “donut hole” for Medicare prescription drug coverage. That figure includes more than 86,600 Tennesseans.
In addition, the law has barred insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 who have pre-existing health conditions, and it’s allowed children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance plans. In Tennessee, 171 families have taken advantage of a program addressing the former issue, and some 25,600 individuals could benefit from the latter provision.
She noted that there has been a lot of confusion around funding for the act. Currently, nearly $2.8 billion has been awarded to states through various grants, such as grants to begin exploring whether or not to run a health insurance exchange. And though states are worried about paying for an expansion of Medicaid, she said the states’ share is “very little” throuh 2019, with states paying just $21.1 million compared to the federal government’s $443 million.